The Book Theif the Power of Words Short Summary

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The Book Thief explores how words have impacted individuals positively and negatively. Interestingly, some individuals including Hitler, Liesel, and Rosa perceive words negatively. However, words have a significant influence on their daily lives, enabling them to envision a brighter future and gain more power. The author highlights the crafting and weaving of words into each character’s life. In The Book Thief, the author illustrates both the terrifying and exquisite power that words possess.

Hitler used rhetoric to manipulate and gain public support. After World War I, he blamed the Jews for starting the conflict and causing extensive damage in Germany, believing they should be held accountable. While in jail, Hitler wrote Mein Kampf, which marked the beginning of his use of persuasive language. The turning point came when a building was set on fire, and Hitler quickly blamed the Communists, urging people to recognize their responsibility. This event led Hitler to gradually target groups like communists and Jews, insisting they should face consequences.

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The population saw his language as crucial and deserving of obedience, leading to his election as chancellor and the formation of The Nazi Party. Consequently, Hitler passed a law granting him four years of rule without consulting the Reichstag. Initially focusing on communists, his scope eventually expanded to include Jews.

To demonstrate that Nazi Germany had control over all, Hitler utilized words as their most powerful weapon.

Liesel’s feelings towards words are both love and hate, which is deeply ironic. Words held two meanings for her: one symbolized the love and connection between Hans and Liesel, while the other represented hate. According to Liesel Meminger, “The words were on their way, and when they arrived, Liesel would hold them in her hands like the clouds, and she would wring them out like the rain.” From the moment Liesel arrived in Himmel St., she was illiterate. However, after settling in, Hans taught her how to read and write, enabling her to understand everything she saw and heard. Words became essential to her existence. Liesel attributes two things to her father. Firstly, he taught her the significance of words. Secondly, she resents Hitler for his deceptive use of words. It is due to Hitler’s actions and rhetoric that Himmel St. was bombed, resulting in the loss of lives and forcing Liesel to confront the recurring theme of abandonment once again. Hitler possesses enough influence through his words to annihilate an entire community of innocent people who have done nothing wrong to deserve such an unaware death sentence. The frustrating reality is that Hitler had the power to destroy countless families while remaining indifferent.

Rosa’s situation is ironic because she uses words like “Arsloch” and “Saurkarel” that she loves, despite their hateful nature. Whenever Hans was reported to be part of the air-raid squad, Rosa would sit on their bed with Hans’ accordion on her lap, crying and letting her tears soak the instrument. When everyone gathered in the bomb safety basement, Rosa was separated from diesel and urgently called out to Liesel: “Liesel! Get over here!” She didn’t want to face the possibility of dying alone without anyone holding her. She longed for someone by her side, offering comfort and alleviating the pain that came with the threat of death. Rosa had deep feelings for both Hans and Liesel. She didn’t harbor hatred or mistreat them; she simply adored them as they were the only two things that truly mattered to her in the world. Many people have tough exteriors but are tender inside; this is true for Rosa.

“The words we choose in our lives are incredibly powerful, but people often overlook their impact. If we use words rooted in divine love, we tap into a force greater than our egos. These words flow from our divine source.” – Elizabeth Sampson. I agree with Elizabeth because words ultimately lead to actions. For those who do not choose their words wisely, their actions can have dangerous consequences. This proved true for Hitler and Rosa, whose actions eventually caught up to them. While Liesel still bears the scars of abandonment, she now has the opportunity to rebuild her life and make better choices. This time, she embarks on her third new beginning.

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The Book Theif the Power of Words Short Summary. (2016, Aug 27). Retrieved from

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